Dr. Rafik Abdessalem
6 November 2011
This paper was originally produced and presented for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2011 on behalf of Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. It was then published by the Doha-based Al Jazeera Centre for Studies in English and Arabic.
I must begin by thanking the Frankfurt Book Fair for inviting us at Aljazeera to join you in discussing our region, which is conventionally known as "the Middle East" or "the Near East" at a time of dramatic transformations unprecedented since the birth of the so-called post-colonial state in the Arab world. As we speak, this part of the world is undergoing serious changes which may alter its face for decades to come, sudden changes unpredicted by even the most optimistic, or pessimistic (depending on the perspective), of American and European politicians. The pessimists are those who have founded their strategies in the region on the demand for stability, and the optimists are those who have been seeking change in the existing status quo...